Counseling for Ministry MA

About the Counseling for Ministry MA at Loyola

The Master of Arts in Counseling for Ministry program at Loyola’s Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS) offers exceptional preparation for those looking to become impactful caregivers in their present and future ministries.

In today’s world, the need for effective and compassionate therapeutic care is as intense and dynamic as it’s ever been. As a student in this program you will be prepared to help meet that need with competencies borne from religious traditions and from the long and rich history of “ministry of care,” or in Jesuit terms, cura personalis.

Program Structure

The MA in Counseling for Ministry is a 36-credit program that can be completed full- or part-time, with courses that can be completed online or on-campus.

The program’s competency requirements mirror those of Loyola’s 60-credit MA in Pastoral Counseling program, but without the additional requirements for state licensure in Illinois as a clinical counselor.

This makes the program an ideal option for international students and others whose professional paths will not require Illinois licensure.

Classes are held weekday evenings at Loyola's Water Tower Campus, which is conveniently located off the Red Line in the heart of Chicago, and the majority of the courses are also offered online.

Why Choose Loyola for Your MA in Counseling for Ministry?

A unique pastoral counseling program for unique goals

The program is designed for international students and professionals who want to increase counseling skills to provide ministry-based therapeutic services that don’t require Illinois licensure.

As a graduate of this program you will be prepared to serve clients in faith communities across the U.S. and in countries around the world.

You will explore a rich diversity of courses and topics — including family therapy, personal transformation, theologies of suffering, and addictions — for a strong theoretical and practical foundation.

Loyola’s IPS was founded in 1964 and is well-known throughout the country as one of the first academic pastoral institutes of its kind.

You will have the option of completing the MA in Counseling for Ministry program fully online, on campus, or through a combination of online and on-site classes.

With classes intentionally kept small, you will enjoy an abundance of individualized guidance, support, and inspiration from faculty and fellow students.

Meet the Faculty

Loyola is proud to have talented and nationally-recognized scholar-teachers as part of our diverse community of exceptional faculty, students and staff. Loyola faculty are known for their commitment to teaching, the dissemination of knowledge through innovative and interdisciplinary scholarly research, and a commitment to social justice and cura personalis, or care for the whole person. Visit the Institute of Pastoral Studies faculty and staff directory to learn more about the teachers and mentors involved with the Counseling for Ministry MA program.

Faculty and Staff

Curriculum and Program Outcomes

While courses for the Counseling for Ministry MA program may vary from semester to semester, Loyola’s extensive Academic Catalog will always house the official listing of courses, programs of study, academic policies, degree requirements, and specialization or concentration options.

Additionally, this resource will provide Counseling for Ministry MA learning outcomes, showcasing the commitment to specific skills and growth graduates can expect to achieve following completion of the program.

2023-2024 Catalog
Browse Academic Catalog

Costs, Scholarships, and Aid

Loyola University Chicago is committed to making your graduate and professional studies a reality. Our Cost & Financial Aid page can help better inform you about the costs and potential funding opportunities through scholarships, loans, and aid for graduate and professional education.

If you are a current Loyola undergraduate or recent alum, you may be eligible for a Returning Rambler discount. Learn more and see if you qualify on our Returning Rambler Scholarship page.

Tuition and Costs

The estimated tuition and fees for the Counseling for Ministry MA totals $30600.00, or 36 credit hours at a cost of $850.00 per credit hour. Please note that tuition and fees for all of Loyola's academic programs are subject to change.

For more detailed information about tuition and fees, and a breakdown of how these costs are calculated on a yearly basis, please visit Tuition and Fees from the Office of the Bursar.

Institute of Pastoral Studies Financial Aid & Scholarships

More information about financial aid opportunities can be found on the Institute of Pastoral Studies Financial Aid page.

Appointments and Events

Whether you’re just beginning your search, in the midst of the application process, or eager to explore our graduate and professional programs, our admissions staff is here to assist you every step of the way.

Schedule an Appointment

The Institute of Pastoral Studies offers graduate open houses, information sessions, individual appointments, open Zoom and text sessions, and a multitude of other ways to get to know us better.

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Visit and Connect With Us

With our visit opportunities, you can tour our beautiful Chicago campuses and learn more about Loyola's ties to one of the most prestigious cities in the world.

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Application Process

Application Deadlines

The available start terms and corresponding application deadlines for the Counseling for Ministry MA are listed below. Please keep in mind that both the application and the required materials must be submitted by the specified deadline.

Fall, Spring, & Summer
Rolling admission

Recommended Deadlines
Fall: July 15
Spring: December 10
Summer: April 15

Final admission is 10 days before the start of classes

Application Requirements

Application requirements for the Counseling for Ministry MA include:

  • Official Transcripts

  • 2 Letters of Recommendation

  • 3.0 Minimum GPA

  • Statement of Purpose

Statement of Purpose Details

Please submit a 1,500-word essay describing your personal, educational, professional, and ministerial background and how these have prepared you for the specific MA or Certificate program for which you have applied. In your essay, also address the following:

  • Prior undergraduate or graduate study in theology or philosophy, if any

  • The ways in which your professional life and any volunteer service have emphasized spiritually, community and social justice

  • A theological book(s) that has helped to shape your understanding of your proposed vocation and course of study

  • Your vision of ministry, your strengths relative to this vocation, significant influences on your faith life (including minsterial mentors or role models), and the professional context in which you see yourself working upon completion of your program

  • Why you are choosing to pursue this degree at Loyola's IPS

Official Documents

Official transcripts are those that are sent directly by the college/university to Loyola University Chicago. Transcripts sent by the student to Loyola are considered unofficial documents, and while they may be utilized for initial review of your application, official transcripts are still required. Official documents should be sent by the institution to

International Applicant Requirements

An official English language proficiency exam is required for international applicants whose native language is not English. If you have non-U.S. educational credentials, you are required to submit an official transcript evaluation. The transcript evaluation cannot be waived.

Please visit our International Applicant Requirements page for specific information regarding the application process for international students.

International Applicant Requirements
Start Your Application

Applying online to the Counseling for Ministry MA program is a swift, uncomplicated, and cost-free process. After submission, you can proceed to send and upload any additional requirements.

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